FAMILIES and history lovers will be blazing a trail to Dorchester for a Bronze Age festival at Maiden Castle.

They will be digging up the past at the ancient monument just outside the county town on the weekend of September 19 and 20.

The free weekend will include living history, arts, crafts and workshops South Dorset Ridgeway Heritage Project officer Sarah Harbige said: “Experimental archaeologists and living history experts will demonstrate aspects of Bronze Age life including metal work, house building, textiles and food.

“Members of the Ancient Wessex Network and guests from further afield will also be on hand to show how the past and landscape continues to inspire artists today.

“There’s even a chance to make your own Bronze Age pottery beaker with Bill Crumbleholme, the Beaker Folk Potter.”

Visitors will also have the chance to meet archaeologists and try their hand at excavating some artefacts on a dig at the site.

On the Sunday, visitors can bring along interesting items and artefacts from home for an expert to identify.

The Portable Antiquities Scheme finds liaison officer will be on the site from 11am to 3.30pm.

Storyteller Graham Rogers will be on hand all weekend with tales of life in ancient times.

Maiden Castle is best known as one of the biggest Iron Age hill forts in Europe.

The Iron Age dates to 2,000 to 3,000 years ago, but Maiden Castle is surrounded by much older sites dating to Bronze Age and Neolithic times.

The Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Partnership is organising the festival in September.

The organisation brings together 20 organisations, including councils, the Countryside Agency and the National Farmers Union.

The festival takes place from 10am to 4pm each day. Entry is free. Organisers say that there is car parking at Maiden Castle but it is very limited and urged visitors to walk or cycle.

There is also a free shuttle bus running from Dorchester South Train Station to Maiden Castle.

To book a place with the potter and for more information call 01305 228241.